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Credit Scores

How Credit Reports Work

A credit report is a collection of information that reflects individual borrowing history and personal identifying information.  If a credit profile is damaged through identity theft or inaccurate credit reporting, the consumer must have misinformation on all 3 credit reports corrected.  While some people pursue self-credit repair options, these could end up costing more time and money in the long run.  Legal professionals who know credit law, and every facet of credit restoration back

Three Credit Reports, One Smart Solution

Many consumers do not fully understand the type of information that is contained in the credit reports generated from the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian, and how lenders, landlords, utility companies, and retailers report account information to credit reporting agencies.  Without this knowledge they’re really at a loss as to how to begin, and which way to proceed repairing damaged credit.   

What is a credit report and what information is included?

Consumer credit reports contain personal identifying information such as, Social Security number, date of birth, and address.  These pieces of information ensure that credit account information and legal filings are reported under the correct credit profile.  If personal identifying information is linked incorrectly to an individual credit profile, it is possible that the credit history of another person can be mixed with that profile.  This can create inaccurate or incorrect credit reports for both parties involved. 

Beyond personal identifying information, credit reports also contain the payment history of an individual on loans or credit accounts, previously opened.  This includes the date the account was first established, the credit limit on the account, the current balance owed, and payment activity on the account.  Legal filings are also reported on consumer credit reports.  These may include any judgments, liens, foreclosures, or repossessions.  Inquiries are included as well.  These are created every time a lender, or other subscribing member of the credit bureau, accesses your credit file for purposes of reviewing your payment history.

What is not contained in my 3 credit reports?

While a credit report contains a great deal of personal identifying information and credit history, there is some information that is not included in the report.  Department of Motor Vehicle records are not included, nor are any moving violations or fines. Salary information, bank account records, and criminal history are not contained in credit reports either.
The religion, ethnicity, or medical history of an individual is also not included in the credit profile.  Information regarding child support payments, or alimony does not appear in a credit profile as well, unless a legal judgment has been filed.

Some credit inquiries, known as, soft pulls will not be reported on any of the 3 credit reports either.  These may include instances where lenders check credit before making unsolicited offers for credit cards or other credit products.

How do credit reporting agencies work?

Credit reporting agencies, or credit bureaus receive information from many different sources such as, banks, credit card companies, courts of law, and collection agencies.  They in-turn compile this information into a credit report and sell it to their subscribers.  Subscribers, such as banks, credit unions and landlords use the service to examine the payment history of a consumer and the amount of money they currently owe others.  In the U.S. there are three main credit-reporting agencies that handle most credit profiles.  They are, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

Credit Report Government

Those that furnish information to the bureaus include banks, finance companies, credit unions, retailers, landlords, and U.S. courts.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates
Credit-reporting agencies,  This government agency ensures that standards for compliance with accuracy and privacy are met.

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) credit reports may only be used for certain purposes.  Once the information is collected by the individual credit bureaus, the company will apply a specific mathematical formula to the weighted data.  From this, the bureau will produce a credit score and provide a credit score report that subscribers can use to help them predict potential risk when making financial decisions for a consumer.

Get Free Credit Report-Why should I obtain one?

Only about a quarter of the U.S. population takes advantage of obtaining their 3 credit reports each year, free of charge. This is an important step toward ensuring your credit information is accurate and your accounts are secure.  Identity thieves may use your personal information to open accounts under your name, collect government benefits; even apply for jobs.  By checking your credit report periodically for unusual activity on accounts, you’ll catch identity theft before it can do damage to your finances and your reputation.

It is also important to check your credit report, either online or by mail before you apply for financing of any kind.  This way you’ll be able to clear up any inaccuracies in your credit profile that could affect your ability to qualify for loan or credit card approval.  Since credit providers and credit reporting agencies make mistakes from time to time, it’s critical to monitor your credit report regularly.

Why the best credit report site you find might be fake.

Many sites may offer you a free online credit report or advertise credit reports free.  Consumers must be very careful before they request a sample credit report from an unknown website.  An advertisement for a free credit report score may simply be a ploy to get people to subscribe to a conditional membership of some sort that requires automatic monthly billing of a credit or debit account, with little or know return for their investment. 

Some companies say they offer real consumer credit scores, but end up only providing, “fako” credit scores that aren’t based on lending industry standards and formulas.  These fake credit scores may help consumers get a general idea of where they stand credit wise, but fail to depict an accurate picture of credit standing that lenders and others need to make decisions.

Contact A Professional

Errors in credit reporting can occur in many different stages of the overall information collection process.  In some instances, creditors report inaccurate information to credit bureaus.  They may include old derogatory payment history that lowers a consumer credit score or report accounts as, “charged off”, delinquent, or past due, when in fact they are current.  In other cases, credit bureaus themselves are in error.  They may input subscriber information incorrectly or fail to update necessary changes to a credit profile.  When this happens, the credit repair process can take months, even years to correct the inaccuracies in credit reports.  In the meantime, the consumer may be restricted from access to needed credit and loans. 

We know what it takes to get inaccuracies removed from your credit reports and want to save you time and money by resolving issues with creditors and credit bureaus.  We have the knowledge of federal laws that regulate the credit and lending industry, and know what legal steps to take to get quick, effective responses from each of the parties involved.  Restoring your ability to make sound credit decisions is vital to your financial future.

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Jeff Dunphy

Jeff Dunphy has years of experience in the field of borrowing. He is the founder of a website that teaches consumers about credit cards, credit scores, loans, and credit repair.
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The content on is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not financial advice and we are not certified financial advisors. strives to keep its information accurate and up to date, but it may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with companies listed on our site. We may receive compensation for the placement of sponsored products or services. We work hard to write authentic and accurate articles.